293-year-old Boston Harbor Light cannon recognized as oldest Coast Guard artifact

BOSTON — In conjunction with the official start of the Boston Harbor Light tourist season, Boston Harbor Light’s keeper received a citation recognizing its fog signal cannon as the oldest artifact in the Coast Guard, Friday.

During the ceremony, Keeper Sally Snowman received the citation from Rear Adm. Dan Abel, the 1st Coast Guard District’s new commander, as the island’s first 50 tourists of 2012, along with Coast Guard and National Park Service employees, watched.

Purchased around 1719, but possibly decades older, the fog cannon at Boston Harbor Light was America’s first official fog signal. It was fired every half-hour during periods of poor visibility to help ships steer clear of Little Brewster Island and its surrounding shoals.

The ceremony highlighted the partnership between the Coast Guard and National Park Service who both work to keep and maintain the island and its aid to navigation.

“It was important to us to have Rear Adm. Abel present the citation,” said Lt. Joe Klinker, 1st Coast Guard District Public Affairs Officer. “As he stated, our new commander inherits not just the modern missions our crews conduct each and every day, but the rich maritime heritage unique to the Coast Guard in the Northeast.”

The Coast Guard’s foundations go back to 1790 with the commissioning of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.

For more information about Coast Guard history, visit www.uscg.mil/history.

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